Email this article
Speech by SEN at the Earth Champions Foundation Celebration (English only)

Following is the speech by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, at the Earth Champions Foundation Celebration today (November 8):

Sir Crispin [Tickell], Christine [Loh], Fiona [Mathews], Distinguished Earth Champions, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to join this special occasion today to celebrate Hong Kong・s Earth Champions, the everyday heroes who are devoted to bringing a better environment to this city.

Since its foundation in 2000, the Earth Champions Foundation has taken its campaign to create a positive climate of hope from Australia to Switzerland, spreading the message also to different parts of the world.  Hong Kong is proud to be associated with this meaningful movement.  The innovation and enthusiasm that have driven the Champions in their pursuit of their environmental cause are reflective of the can-do spirit of the people of Hong Kong.  I would like to extend a note of thanks and appreciation to the Foundation, in particular to Fiona, for choosing Hong Kong as the venue for your latest city quest.

Public administrators around the world are constantly faced with the challenge of rallying the public・s support for initiatives to improve the environment.  Small changes in individuals・ living habit, very often at little or no cost to them, could make big difference to the global environment.  The question is how to trigger the habit change to achieve the bigger cause.  

In his 2008/09 Policy Address announced in mid-October, the Chief Executive unveiled a series of measures to engage the people of Hong Kong in the drive towards a low carbon economy.  The underlying message is clear.  That Hong Kong, as a member of the global community, has to play its part in combating climate change.  And we have to embark on this hand-in-hand with the people.

To start with, we have identified buildings, the place where people live, work and play, as our target for enhancing energy efficiency. Currently, there are over 40,000 buildings in Hong Kong and 89% of our electricity consumption is building-related.  Enhancing building energy efficiency could thus result in significant energy savings and reduction in GHG emission.  We plan to introduce the relevant bill into the Legislative Council in 2009, with the objective of improving energy efficiency of new and existing buildings as soon as practicable.

Furthermore, to mobilize the public for concrete actions for this cause, we have reserved $150 million under the Environment and Conservation Fund to subsidize building owners to carry out energy-cum-carbon audits.  Energy-cum-carbon audit is an effective tool for calculating energy consumption and GHG emission of buildings, with a view to identifying improvement opportunities in reducing emission and energy consumption. And taking account of the considerable capital investments involved in energy efficiency projects, we proposed to reserve $300 million under the Fund to serve as an incentive for such projects by subsidizing part of the expenditure.  By providing incentives for concrete actions on enhancing building energy efficiency, we are confident that the two funding schemes could complement the mandatory implementation of the Building Energy Code.

On top of the above, we will explore new grounds on energy efficiency and conservation through researches. We note that economies such as Australia, Canada and South Korea have announced the plan to restrict the import or sale of incandescent light bulbs from 2008 to 2014.  We will study the phasing out of incandescent light bulbs and their replacement by more energy-efficient lighting products, and whether to introduce a statutory restriction on the sale of incandescent light bulbs.

Enhancing energy efficiency and conservation is just one of the areas where individuals can offer their contribution.  And today, we are here to give recognition to the many individuals who have chosen their own ways to contribute to the environment.  We are giving praises to the heroes who would otherwise be left unsung.

Ladies and Gentlemen, before we proceed with the ceremony, I would like to share with you this quote I read from an interview with one of the Earth Champions.

She said: :If we・re going to have a sustainable planet, we・ve got to be sustainable people.;  With this note, I ask you to join me in congratulating the :sustainable people;!

Thank you.

Ends/Saturday, November 8, 2008
Issued at HKT 17:23


Print this page